'It's like this leaf with three bits sticking out… or a bit like an egg: the shell, the white and the yoke. Or water in three states: liquid, ice and air. This is the way many people battle to describe the Trinity'. But as nearly 400 delegates at the CMF Student Conference heard from Mike Reeves, of Union Theology and Wales Evangelical School of Theology (WEST), Christians believe in the Trinity 'because of Jesus Christ the son of God'.
'To be honest, Trinity is a subject most Christians seem like they want to avoid.' As a result, many Christians in their witness are keen to 'wax lyrical about the gospel but not about the God whose gospel it is. The Trinity gives our gospel its character and its flavour. If God were not Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there would be no salvation at all'.
It was our first year at Yarnfield Park and let's be honest, the students loved the food. 'Oh baby was it good' was one insightful comment, as was another – 'possibly too good'.
Students enjoyed Aaron Poppleton giving an inspiring address on 'Being a Christian medic in an international world', focusing especially on the opportunities closest to us in Europe. Seminars on topics such as 'When Christians disagree' and 'Suffering' were, as usual, popular and highly rated. Again there were great offers at the bookstall including the new Human Journey course, currently being used by a number of student groups. Overall the students loved meeting with friends and making new ones, with large numbers this year from HYMS, Southampton and Imperial in particular. It was great to welcome international students from the SYD conference and a privilege to be inspired by and to pray with them. We were sad to say goodbye to Laura Risdale this year who has organised the conference for over ten years – she will be sadly missed and received a great send off from the students.
A comment from one of the delegates just about sums it up: 'Thank you for everything! I couldn't feel more blessed to attend your amazing conference. I learnt so much, got to know so many Christian brothers and sisters around the UK and the world. I was encouraged and inspired. It was a little piece of heaven.'
Next year we will be back 12–14 February and are delighted that Tim Chester, pastor, associate director of the Porterbrook Seminary and author of over 20 books, will be joining us for the Bible readings based on the book of Revelation. We hope to see you there!
Another great Syd
Some 19 students from 17 countries attended the 2015 Sydenham Conference (formerly International Medical Students Conference (IMSC)) held in London from 8–13 February. We were delighted to welcome student leaders from as far away as Namibia, Brazil, Jordan and China in this equipping week for student leaders. Many will return with a vision for pioneering CMF-type work in their home countries, building on seminars on ethics, leadership, partnership and our talks from 2 Timothy. Do pray for these students and that the door would remain open for CMF UK to continue to play a key role in this strategic ministry.
A great national coming up
Lindsay Brown, a former general secretary of IFES, will give the Bible readings at the CMF National Conference at Yarnfield Park, Stone, 24–26 April. Glynn Harrison, formerly a consultant clinical psychiatrist and chair of the Psychiatry department at Bristol University, gives this year's Rendle Short Lecture. There are separate tracks for doctors, junior doctors and nurses, plus an invitation-only track for student leaders.
This is a family friendly event with a team from YWAM England running children and youth programmes.